What We Do
Under the auspices of the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies faculty and graduate students have actively pursued research on a variety of justice issues, including: judicial decision making regarding the admissibility of scientific evidence; global diffusion of novel scientific evidence; the comprehensibility of judges' instructions in the penalty phase of capital trials; the utility and effectiveness of battered woman syndrome as a defense; breast implant litigation; racial and socioeconomic bias in the jury selection process; police and district attorney decision making in the processing of rape cases; the influence of pre trial publicity on juror decision making; human rights and AIDS legislation; the effectiveness of anger management programs for batterers; new religious movements and social justice issues; and the effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as court annexed arbitration. Faculty Associates at the Center are also actively publishing articles based upon their justice research and presenting papers at local, national, and international professional conferences.
The Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies is also committed to raising the campus community's awareness of justice related issues and research opportunities. This awareness is facilitated through the "Center News" Newsletter, the Brown Bag Colloquia Series, the Distinguished Speakers Series, the Roundtable Discussion Groups and the occasional GSCJS Paper Series.
The Director of the Center served as Editor of the journal Social Justice Research from 1996-2002. This Journal is an international multidisciplinary forum for the publication of original papers that have implications of sufficient scope to be important to all social scientists investigating the origins, structures, and consequences of justice in human affairs.
What can the Center offer faculty and graduate students interested in justice issues?
The Grant Sawyer Center Center for Justice Studies has several goals including:
Grant Development Support - The Center is ready to assist faculty and graduate students with grant writing in the area of justice studies, broadly defined. Research assistants are available to help with literature searches, LEXIS case law and statute, locating and identifying funding sources, the completion of funding agency forms, human subjects' protocols, and other related issues. In order to ensure the highest quality research proposal possible, each grant is peer reviewed by at least one person designated by the Director of the Center. The Center also provides assistance for graduate students who seek funding for doctoral dissertation improvement. This assistance includes: identifying appropriate funding sources; review and editing of proposals; and assistance with form preparation.
Newsletter - The "Center News" provides the campus community with the latest information about granting opportunities, post docs, research money, calls for papers, upcoming conferences, and other related information.
Brown Bag Colloquia Series - The CJS Brown Bag Colloquia Series brings faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and members of the larger community together in an informal setting to present and discuss justice related research.
Distinguished Speaker Series - The Distinguished Speaker Series is designed to bring nationally or internationally renowned leaders in the field of justice to the university for public lectures. While visiting campus, scholars typically present a technical seminar for graduate students and faculty in relevant departments and a public lecture for the entire campus and surrounding local community.
Roundtable Discussion Groups - As part of the Center’s ongoing effort to stimulate social justice research and scholarship on campus, from time to time the Center conducts roundtable discussion groups. The purpose of these groups is to provide an opportunity for the exchange of information among individuals who share a common interest in justice issues. In addition to building awareness about individuals’ work in given areas, the roundtable series also serves to introduce individuals to the potential value of collaborative and/or complementary scholarship.
Graduate Research Assistantships - The Center funds graduate research assistantships. Graduate research assistants offer general support for those conducting research in justice studies, including assistance in grant writing, research design and implementation, statistical analysis, and report writing. Research assistants are also responsible for carrying out the day-to day activities of the Center.
Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies works closely with the Judicial Studies Program at the University of Nevada, Reno, in the education of sitting judges from around the U.S. and abroad. Staff from the Center assist in thesis and dissertation research required of judges/students in the program. The Judicial Studies Program offers the Master of Judicial Studies and the PhD in Judicial Studies.